Long fiction or make short work of it?
To be frankly honest, my dear, I don’t usually have much of a choice. ‘Twas about this time last year I was settling in front of a blank page to jot down the outline for a short story which would go towards filling my second short story collection. An entire weekend and two a4 notepads later, and I was still going.
The thing, which started out as a just a snippet of dialogue I’d hastily scribbled down in some long forgotten moment, just exploded. All of a sudden I had a fully fleshed novel on my hands, and 20,000 words later I had the premise for a sequel and a third in the series.
Needless to say, said short story collection got shoved onto the back burner.
The book was completed around November last year, and is right now nearing the top of the ‘to edit’ pile. I plan to at least flesh out and start the sequel before doing anything with the first because it’s a tricky plot with lots of crossovers, connections and a sprinkling of conspiracy, so I don’t want to miss anything.
But as to short or long fiction, for me they both have their merits and faults. There’s nothing like the feeling of having a bulging notepad in front of you with layouts, characters, maps, pictures, all ready to be translated into a story. It’s a huge challenge, stretching ahead towards a glorious finish line. Picture yourself, if you will, standing at the entrance to the Appalachian Trail, a backpack strapped to your back, brimming with everything you’ll need for the long, arduous journey ahead. I’d like to think that feeling is something akin to starting a new book.
Short stories however, are rewarding in the sense of accomplishment they give. An idea gets wrapped up, tied in a bow and filed under ‘done,’ short and sweet, job done, brush off the hands, next one please.
Personally I’ll take any idea, long or short, as they come. Bring it on!
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